Explore Career Options, Jobs, Schooling, and Salary for an in Demand Career in Physical Therapy

Guide to Physical Therapy Assistant Salary

Entering into any career can be a number of steps. One of those steps is determining the wages for a given career of interest. When it comes to physical therapy assistant salary, you will find that from state to state this wage may vary.  It is important to note when determining salary as well, just what the demand of a given career is, as well as the amount of time it takes to study, graduate, and enter the work force. Those who are considering a career as a physical therapy assistant will often be investigated such factors to try to make an informed decision when choosing careers.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary

According to the newest information provided at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapist assistants in the United States earn an average salary of $49,690, with the average range anywhere from $40,240 to over $59,050 annually. If you are interested in relocating, you will find the physical therapy assistant jobs are available all throughout all the states, making this an easy career to be in for relocation. Relocation to a different state will in most cases have little effect on your physical therapy assistant salary. There average salary in some states may be below $40 000, and in some states we will see the average salary of over $60 000. It really does depend on a number of factors, including demand, and the health care infrastructure of a given state.

While this career does not pay as much  that of a physical therapist, it is one in which you are assisting and working under the direct guidance of these professionals to  complete the tasks that are given with regards to treatment of patients. When it comes to education the difference between the length of time in study for a physical therapy assistant (PTA) and a physical therapist (PT) is quite large  (PTA = 2 years, PT = 7 years). A physical therapy assistant salary is quite strong when you consider the discrepancy in the amount of years required for study. A physical therapy assistant salary on average is roughly 2/3 that of what the average Physical therapist salary is. For this reason studying at one of the physical therapy assistant schools is a popular career choice, and one with many benefits.

State by State comparison of average Physical Therapy Assistant Salary as of 2009 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Some of these numbers have changed slightly in the last 3 years when we compare using salary.com, but overall this paints an accurate ballpark picture of the salary in each state.

Salary by State Hourly Average Annual Salary
Alabama $21.53 $44,790
Arizona $21.02 $43,720
Arkansas $22.26 $46,300
California $27.32 $56,820
Colorado $19.35 $40,240
Connecticut $26.51 $55,150
Delaware $25.52 $53,080
D.C. N/A N/A
Florida $25.52 $53,080
Georgia $23.40 $48,680
Hawaii $17.99 $37,430
Idaho $24.27 $50,480
Illinois $23.41 $48,690
Indiana $24.57 $51,100
Iowa $18.58 $38,640
Kansas $22.85 $47,520
Kentucky $22.74 $47,300
Louisiana $20.22 $42,050
Maine $20.35 $42,320
Maryland $22.59 $47,000
Massachusetts $24.23 $50,390
Michigan $19.59 $40,740
Minnesota $20.68 $43,020
Mississippi $19.20 $39,940
Missouri $22.13 $46,040
Montana $18.65 $38,790
Nebraska $20.92 $43,500
Nevada $26.98 $56,120
New Hampshire $22.16 $46,100
New Jersey $24.90 $51,790
New Mexico $19.96 $41,510
New York $21.50 $44,730
North Carolina $24.69 $51,360
North Dakota $18.13 $37,710
Ohio $24.61 $51,180
Oklahoma $20.74 $43,130
Oregon $23.13 $48,110
Pennsylvania $20.21 $42,040
Puerto Rico $9.89 $20,560
Rhode Island $23.53 $48,940
South Carolina $23.68 $49,260
South Dakota $15.83 $32,920
Tennessee $24.59 $51,150
Texas $29.67 $61,710
Utah $15.67 $32,590
Vermont $21.58 $44,880
Virginia $24.06 $50,050
Washington $23.29 $48,440
West Virginia $19.86 $41,310
Wisconsin $21.79 $45,320
Wyoming $17.95 $37,330


Factors that Influence Physical Therapy Assistant Salary

Time on the job As is the case with any profession an entry level position as a physical therapy assistant will have a lower rate of pay than physical therapy assistants who have spent years working in the field. Dedication to your career and time on the job is what leads to a higher physical therapy assistant salary. Before taking that first entry level job it is smart to bring up a few questions about the scheduled increases of pay the facility offers in its structure. Job hopefuls are often so enthusiastic about landing their first job after their studies have finished that they fail to check the benefits and salary structure of the position they accept. It is wise to simply ask what the pay structure is, and what benefits are included with the position so there is no confusion or disappointment later on.  Some facilities will start a physical therapy assistant out at a lower salary with probationary period (common practice)  roughly lasting 3 months or 90 days. After the 90 days of work a performance review will be completed by your employers. Time on the job will always factor into a physical therapy assistant salary.


A physical therapy assistant will be responsible for a variety of tasks throughout the day. How you are able perform the tasks asked of you, and how you organize your duties will be crucial in whether or not your salary will rise. Put forth your full effort in all tasks that you do, no matter if the other physical therapy assistant’s behave in this way. New employee’s will always have a mentor, it is wise to choose a role model who has a strong work ethic. You do not want to be compared to the employees who slack off, skip over duties or cut corners, you will be putting yourself in a bad position. You will be rewarded in the end with an increased salary by being the employee who is consistent and works hard and efficient every work day.

Type of Facility

Depending on what type of facility you find your employment in, will indicate if you will have a higher salary. With regards to physical therapy assistant, finding employment in home health care services and nursing care facilities bring in the highest average wages (around 52,000 per year) with general medical and surgical hospitals also paying higher wages than other positions in the field. This is another facet to research before accepting a position. Type of facility where one works is where you truly may find the greatest variance of physical therapy assistant salary.

If your physical therapy assistant salary is not helping you reach your financial needs and goals, keep in mind that you do have several options. You can focus on finding work in a facility that has a higher wage structure, or you can continue to work as a physical therapy assistant while furthering your medical or physical therapy career. Whichever option you choose, physical therapy assistant is a rewarding career path.


Physical Therapy Assistant Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to increase by 35 percent by 2018, much faster and higher than the average for all occupations in the United States. This could prove to spur a similar growth for salaries and the demand for qualified physical therapy assistants. This is due to an increasing elderly population in North America which will require greater hands on care as the elderly population is prone to chronic and debilitating conditions that require therapeutic service.


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